Home education, or home schooling is where parents choose to educate their children themselves out of their local state schooling system.
Within the UK, education is compulsory for children, however, there is no mandated requirement for it to take place in a school.
Home schooling has therefore been an option available to parents (or guardians) since the Education Act 1944.
It first gained momentum during the 1970’s and was effectively re-affirmed as an option via Section 7 of the Education Act 1996.
“The parent of every child of compulsory school age shall cause him to receive efficient full-time education suitable –
(a) to his age, ability and aptitude, and
(b) to any special educational needs he may have, either by regular attendance at school or otherwise.”
It is from this wording that a group called “Education Otherwise” first started in the 1970’s, to help parents with educating their children.
Many people are unaware of the legal options around home educating and there can be a state of fear as to whether their children will be deemed truants and perhaps taken into care, sometimes leading to parents ‘hiding their children away’ during the hours other children would be in school.
Home education, or elective home education as it is also know, is a perfectly valid and acceptable way to educate your children and there is no requirement to follow the exact same syllabus as used in any of your local schools.
It is also possible to move between state education, home education and private education as each of your children progress through their schooling years.
We home-schooled our own children, as well as sending them to both state and private schools and so we appreciate how confusing and worrying these decisions can be.
We also know many families who have “switched in and out” in this way, however, each family has it’s own set of personal circumstances and so will need to make it’s own decision whether to go down this route for education.
You’ll find further discussions and comments around elective home education in our blog.